I remember when I used to try to make sure every food I ate was the lowest calories possible.
60 calorie yogurt. 180 calorie Luna Bars. 80 calorie ezekiel bread. Dry turkey meat. 60 calorie cheese stick.
How can I eat as much as possible, while consuming as little calories as possible??
And since I was never really feeding myself enough, of course, I remained starving, all the time. And completely pissed off at myself that I couldn’t just freaking eat an appropriate amount of food. Which I thought was a sensible 1200 calories. (1200 calories is probably not even enough for half the amount of calories).
It came down to my belief, (that I was told over and over by every diet book and magazine I ever read), that I should be eating less food than I was eating. That less was better. That my hunger was the problem. That if I could just freaking do it right, that I would finally be fixed and normal with food. (Normal meaning, like, not really needing to eat ever.)
Once I realized, 10 years after all this, that I had been messing up my metabolism and normal hunger cues by trying to consume less calories, it all clicked.
Oh… so MORE calories will actually heal my body? So we need lots of calories to keep our systems running optimally? Whaaaaaaaaa?
So I began trying to make sure that my meals and snacks were more than enough.
I turned it all on its head.
I started realizing that my ideas about calories were all wrong.
The reason we get starving in between meals -ding ding ding ding- is because we aren’t eating enough food. Not because you’re broken or addicted to food, but because you just aren’t eating enough food. If you are hungry between meals, you haven’t eaten enough at the last meal, and you need a snack. Not a little 50 calorie fat free snack, but like… a small meal. Or a big meal. What do I care.
If you are hungry in between meals, and you don’t want to have to eat a snack, or don’t have time to eat a snack, you need to eat bigger meals god damnit.
And let’s just say, LET’S JUST SAY, that for the sake of this post, we are talking about a day when your body needs 2500 calories a day – which is pretty normal for a woman. (Please don’t let yourself be triggered by this, most people need a different amount every day. I don’t condone counting calories, but I am trying to use a measuring system that will show you how wrong we have been about our energy needs and a normal sized meal. And you may need way, way more than this some days while learning to eat normally. Do NOT let this be a marker for what you “should” be doing. The only should you should be doing is stopping listening to shoulds.)
Say you need 2500, and you eat three meals and some snacks… That’s like 700 calories for each meal, and then 400+ in snacks on top of that. Do you see what this means?
Those 210 calorie lean cuisines are bullshit. WTF IS THAT. THAT IS BARELY A SNACK.
Am I telling you that you now need to make sure you eat 700 calories per meal and a 400 calorie snack? GOD NO, PLEASE do not let that be the takeaway of this post. Please. This is an incredibly arbitrary measurement.
What I AM saying, is that you need so much more than you think you do. A NORMAL amount of food is significantly higher than what diets have conditioned you to believe.
Now will you go and get a second helping of pasta for god’s sake? Thanks.
(DO NOT READ THIS AND START THINKING THAT COUNTING CALORIES IS A HELPFUL WAY TO LIVE YOUR LIFE. I used calories as an example that most of us could wrap our heads around. K thx.)